Question: When it comes to finding captioned movies and plays, many hard of hearing people don’t know where to turn. One lady lamented, “I’ve often heard that there are movie theatres with captioning but have never heard of one near me. Is there some central place that lists which theatres have such help available?” Another hard of hearing person questioned, “How do you learn of captioned movies shown in your city? Are they listed as such in your local newspaper movie line-up or where?”
Answer: The good news is that there are several organizations dedicated to helping us by listing which movies and live theatre events are captioned.
MoPix (Motion Picture Access) (http://www.mopix.org) lists movies that are currently showing that are both closed captioned (typically rear window captioned) and have descriptive audio, and those that are just closed captioned. (See the “Access Technologies” box below for descriptions of these various technologies.) To view a list of the movie theatres in the USA and Canada that show closed captioned movies—and if they have more than one auditorium, which auditorium(s) in these theatres are equipped to show such movies—click on the “View theaters” link immediately above the list of captioned movies on the MoPix website.
Here is a brief overview of three current technologies to help hard of hearing people and people with visual difficulties enjoy movies and live theatre. (I’ve included Descriptive Video Service since a number of hard of hearing people also have visual difficulties.)
Open Captioning (OC) is where the captions are visible on the screen for all to read. You do not need any assistive technology to view these captions.
Rear Window Captioning (RWC) is a type ofclosed captioning (CC), because only the people with special transparent acrylic panels can see the captions. (In case you are interested, RWC displays reversed captions on a light-emitting diode (LED) text display which is mounted at the rear of a theatre. You adjust your panel, which is attached to your seat, to reflect the captions so that they appear superimposed on the movie screen. These reflective panels are portable and adjustable, so you can sit almost anywhere you want in the theatre.)
Descriptive Video Service (DVS) describes what is happening, which you hear via an infrared or FM receiver. (This is sometimes referred to as Descriptive Audio (DA), or Descriptive Video (DV), but it is all the same thing.) DVS enables moviegoers with visual problems to hear the descriptive narration on headsets without disturbing people nearby. DVS describes key visual elements such as actions, settings, and scene changes to help make movies more meaningful to people with vision loss.
InSight Cinema (http://www.insightcinema.org) lists the open captioned movie theatres in the USA. To find them, click on the “InSight theatres” link on the left of their web page. If you are interested in live captioned theatre and cultural events, scroll halfway down the page and click on the large “Live Captioned Theatre & Cultural Events” link.
C2 (Caption Coalition) Inc (http://c2net.org/) lists upcoming open captioned performances by date and location for several months into the future. (Note: there are other theaters that also do captioned performances, but not by C2 (Caption Coalition) Inc. As a result, this list is not complete, but it is way better than nothing!)
Captionfish: On May 18, 2009, DeafCode LLC released the beta version of their brand new “Captionfish” captioned movie finder. This free website automatically provides information about captioned movies in your area based upon your computer’s “address”.
Their “blurb” reads: “It is the first website to integrate an Instant CC Film Finder™, which provides immediate and effortless custom results within 30 miles of a chosen location, refreshed on each visit to Captionfish.com.”
I found it better to put in my own address manually rather than accept where Captionfish thinks I am. For example, when I first tried Captionfish, it calculated its results as though I lived in York, PA, not in Stewartstown, PA where I actually live—a difference of about 20 miles. When I put in my Stewartstown address, it replaced the 1 movie in my “area” with 3 others that were actually closer to me, but to the south.
By default, Captionfish shows you the captioned movies that are showing today within 30 miles of your location. You can easily change this to the next 7 days if you want to. You can also set the radius from 30 miles to 15, 45 or 60 miles depending on how many movie theaters are near you, and how far you are willing to drive.
Another cool feature of Captionfish is that it indicates whether the theater uses Rear Window Captioning (closed captions), or whether the movie is open captioned, whether it is subtitled for foreign films, or whether a theatre uses descriptive narration.
In my opinion, open captioning is much nicer than Rear Window Captioning as there is nothing you need to have (a small, smoked glass screen available at the theater, but you need to ask for it), or do (set up the screen and aim it at the back wall where the captions are actually displayed), and you can sit anywhere (and not only where you get a clear shot at the back wall).
With Rear Window Captioning, you read the captions off the small, smoked glass screen in front of you while you watch the action on the big screen at the front of the theater. Thus, you are trying to focus on, and watch, two different places at once, not always an easy task.
When you click on the “Movie Details” link, Captionfish shows you a printed description of the movie, and also shows you a short preview of the movie. Note, this preview is also captioned! Nice!
Another cool feature for those hard of hearing people on the move is that Captionfish provides a mobile website optimized for mobile phones so you can start driving and find the film you want as you go.
For those of you that use custom RSS feeds, Captionfish enables an RSS feed so you can check for the latest captioned film results using your preferred RSS reader.
To find captioned movies in your area (Captionfish just covers the USA), simply click on Captionfish. It’s that simple!
The procedure one person uses is to check out MoPix for closed captioned upcoming movies and InSight Cinema for open captioned upcoming movies (which are usually known weeks ahead of time).
In addition to the above organizations’ websites, some of the theatre chains maintain their own web pages listing their captioning options. For example, AMC Theatres lists their captioning options on their website at https://www.amctheatres.com/assistive-moviegoing while Regal Entertainment lists their captioned movie options at http://www.regmovies.com/Theatres/Captioning-and-Descriptive-Video.
Now that you know how to find captioned movies, go and enjoy one near you.